"Everything we do will be aimed at building and mobilizing the huge climate movement that turned out over the last four days," said one Extinction Rebellion activist, referring to the Big One protests that ended Monday.
They gave British leaders until Monday to engage with their demands or face a renewed wave of civil disobedience, and as their deadline passed without a response, climate campaigners had a new message for the right-wing U.K. government: "You had your chance—now we're stepping it up."
Last week, a coalition led by Extinction Rebellion (XR) demanded that the U.K. government, led by Conservative Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, produce a plan for ending the fossil fuel era in the face of a worsening planetary emergency and include the climate movement in the process.
The green groups said that failure to meet their ultimatum would result in massive civil disobedience like last year's demonstrations—in which activists blocked roads, bridges, and fossil fuel infrastructure; interrupted a speech by then-Prime Minister Liz Truss, a Tory; glued themselves to buildings; and splashed tomato soup on a protected Van Gogh painting.
"Collectively, we can unite, and demand better. We have the power in all of us."
At the start of the year, XR vowed to no longer use "public disruption as a primary tactic" and to leave the "locks, glue, and paint behind" in favor of prioritizing large demonstrations like the "The Big One," which ended Monday and featured nationwide protests including a massive Earth Day die-in outside Parliament attended by tens of thousands of people.
"The government had a week to respond to our demands and they have failed to do so," XR co-founder Clare Farrell said in a statement. "Next we will reach out to supporter organizations to start creating a plan for stepping up our campaigns across an ecosystem of tactics that includes everyone from first-time protesters to those willing to go to prison."
\u201c\ud83e\uddf5IT\u2019S GONE 5PM AND THE GOVERNMENT HAVE FAILED\n\nWe asked you to show up, & you did. Across the 4 days, 100,000 people descended on Parliament to talk, to march, & to demand change. It was a historic moment with an unprecedented number of groups uniting, and you should be proud.\u201d— Extinction Rebellion UK \ud83c\udf0d (@Extinction Rebellion UK \ud83c\udf0d) 1682354528
"Over the next three months, we will be translating the appetite for action amongst people at The Big One into a whole new range of campaigns and action across the country," XR action coordinator Rob Callender said in a statement.
"Everything we do will be aimed at building and mobilizing the huge climate movement that turned out over the last four days so that we can return to Parliament this year from every corner and community in the country in even greater numbers," he added. "And this time we won't leave until our demands to the government are met. We are all ready to do the important work of taking back our power and creating a better future for everyone."
Dominique Palmer of coalition member Fridays For Future said: "Collectively, we can unite, and demand better. We have the power in all of us."
"As we have seen, we cannot wait for politicians to take action that prioritizes people and planet over profit, and so we must demand it," Palmer added. "By applying pressure, we can win. And create an equitable future."